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Immigration

Southern California border fence builder pays $5 million fine for hiring illegal immigrants

Saturday, December 23, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: immigration, illegal immigration, border fence

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(NewsTarget) A fence-building company in Southern California has agreed to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants.

In addition to the fines, two executives from the company may also end up serving jail time. A company called Golden State was found to have hired and retained illegal immigrants for part of a border fence building project -- and the company, when caught, agreed to cleanup its act.

When the company was investigated again in 2004 and 2005 to ensure compliance with its promise, some of the same illegal workers from an immigration check in 1999 were still working for the company. Indeed, it's now estimated that as many as one-third of the company's 750 workers may have been in the country illegally.

Golden State Fence built millions of dollars' worth of fencing around homes, offices, and military bases, and the U.S. Government is now suggesting jail time for Melvin Kay and Michael McLaughlin, the company's president and a manager, respectively, to the tune of six months.

It's a rare twist to see employers of illegal immigrants actually face jail time or even prosecution. The case against Golden State, therefore, is almost a first of its kind as pressure increases from the public to crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants.

Immigration raids on six meat-packing plants netted almost 1,300 suspected illegal workers recently, but no charges were leveled against Swift, the company that ran the plants. Golden State Fence's attorney does admit that his client broke the law, but he states that the case proves that construction companies need a guest-worker program.

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